Why the Best Parent Can Lose a Custody Decision
How to Win Child Custody)
Fred had an excellent chance for getting primary custody of his children. He had always been involved with them, and after separation continued to be a good father. He would have been awarded primary custody in most cases, but he didn’t get it in his own case. Jenny was also involved, especially in the children’s music and dance. The children’s shared involvement with their mother persuaded the judge to award them to Jenny. Fred didn’t really lose. He was given far more than the usual amount of time with his children. He also didn’t stop being involved in their lives just because the judge didn’t give him primary custody.
Liberal judges are somewhat more likely to award children to the father. However, you don’t get to pick the judge you want. You can do something if your case is assigned to a judge known to favor your spouse’s position. Your attorney should disqualify the judge without having to state the reasons, or challenge the judge if bias can be proven. It’s not the easy way out for your attorney, but you don’t want the deck stacked against you.
There was a traditional preference that children of tender years should live with their mother. While this preference is no longer legally valid, this same factual situation may still pre-determine the outcome of your case no matter what you do. Unless the father has been overwhelmingly involved in the child-raising, many judges are still likely to award the children to the mother because she is better equipped to parent.
If the mother has not been working outside the home, she may get the children no matter how involved the father has been. The judge will find she is available for the children and presumably able to care for them because she has been staying home.
If both parents work outside the home, the father’s chances are better because a non-parent provides much of the daily care taking. Although it seems that the children might spend half the time with each evenly matched parent, children of three or less may suffer if they don’t have a primary home. No matter how involved and competent the father is, the mother is usually the favored parent for very young children. All the court can do is give the father as much time as possible.
If you are a father about to lose the custody battle because of your wife’s availability to care for your very young children, have your attorney request a finding that you are also a fit and proper parent. Salvage what you can with a record showing the court is giving the mother custody only because of the children’s need to continue to be with one primary caretaker at their young age. This will help in a few years, implying that a change should be considered when the children are a little older.
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How to Win Child Custody
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